cloudy.png
Friday September 17th, 2021 8:45AM

Republicans recoil from Missouri Sen. Hawley after siege

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — A Republican colleague rebuked him on the Senate floor. A home-state newspaper editorial board declared he has “blood on his hands.” But for Josh Hawley, the Missouri senator who staged an Electoral College challenge that became the focus of a violent siege of the U.S. Capitol, the words of his political mentor were the most personal.

“Supporting Josh Hawley ... was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life,” former Missouri Sen. John Danforth told The Associated Press on Thursday. “He has consciously appealed to the worst. He has attempted to drive us apart and he has undermined public belief in our democracy. And that’s great damage.”

Aside from President Donald Trump, who roiled up supporters just before they stormed the Capitol, no politician has been more publicly blamed for Wednesday’s unprecedented assault on American democracy than Hawley. The 41-year-old first-term senator, a second-tier player through much of the Trump era, has rapidly emerged as a strident Trump ally, and may be among the most tarnished by the events of Jan. 6 for years to come.

“There will be political fallout for his actions,” said Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist and former adviser to the 2016 presidential campaign of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who like Hawley, drew significant criticism for pushing ahead with the Electoral College challenge.

“The initial decision to oppose the will of the people was downright wrong," Stewart said. "The post-insurrection calculation to continue the charade is fallacious and dangerous.”

The Kansas City Star went a step further, saying in an editorial posted late Wednesday that no one other than Trump was more responsible than Hawley.

“Assault on democracy: Sen. Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt,” read the headline of the editorial.

Hawley, who defeated Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2018, was once celebrated by the Republican establishment as a rising star. The Stanford- and Yale- educated lawyer was young, ambitious and savvy. It surprised some when he was first to announce he would endorse false claims of fraud and take up Trump’s cause, forcing House and Senate votes that would inevitably fail and in no way alter the election’s outcome.

Support of the challenge to the electoral vote count was seen as keeping in good stead with Trump’s supporters, who dominate the Republican base. The move instantly raised his national profile. Soon Hawley and Cruz were leading about 10 other senators in the effort — notably not winning over Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska or Tom Cotton of Arkansas, two other young Republicans viewed as having presidential ambitions.

As he walked into the Capitol on Wednesday, Hawley cheered on pro-Trump protesters gathering outside the building with a thumbs up and fist pump.

But Hawley’s scheme fell apart almost before it got going. As the Senate began debate, pro-Trump mobs barreled into the Capitol and interrupted proceedings. By the time the Senate reconvened, after one woman was shot and killed by police and parts of the Capitol ransacked, support in the Senate for challenging the results had all but evaporated.

Dozens of courts, state elections officials and even Trump’s former attorney general have said there was no evidence of widespread election fraud. Still, Hawley asked his Senate colleagues “to address the concerns of so many millions of Americans” by investigating the 2020 vote.

He faced instant rebuke from his own party. Seated near Hawley, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney blasted those who objected to finalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s election.

Accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, Romney said “those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.”

“That will be their legacy,” he added.

President-elect Joe Biden echoed the sentiment, calling Hawley and Cruz “just as responsible" as Trump for Wednesday's violence, during a press conference Friday.

“I think the American public has a real good clear look at who they are. They are part of the big lie,” Biden said, stopping short of suggesting they resign. “I think they should just be flat beaten the next time they run.”

Hawley's responded with outrage after Biden likened the practice of repeating a falsehood to Nazi propaganda efforts during World War II.

“He is calling me a Nazi," Hawley said. "It is utterly shameful. He should act like a dignified adult and retract these sick comments. And every Democrat member of Congress should be asked to disavow these disgusting comments.”

The reaction was similarly combative to Hawley's response after Simon and Schuster announced in a statement Thursday the cancellation of his upcoming book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech," after “his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.”

Hawley called the decision a “direct assault on the First Amendment," in a written statement. “I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have," he said. "We’ll see you in court.”

In the deeply divided GOP, Romney's and other outraged Republicans' may not be the prevailing view. In Missouri, where Trump won by 15 percentage points, some argued Hawley was blameless.

“For people to blame Sen. Hawley for the people that came up to the Capitol to break the windows — and came wearing helmets and trying to break in — that’s absurd,” said Republican state Rep. Justin Hill. Hill was the lead sponsor of a Missouri House resolution to reject some states’ Electoral College votes and attended Trump's rally before the Capitol riot.

At least one major donor turned on Hawley, calling him a “political opportunist” and urging the Senate to censure him.

David Humphreys, president and CEO of Tamko Building Products in Joplin, Missouri, after contributing millions to Hawley and other GOP candidates, wrote “Hawley's irresponsible, inflammatory, and dangerous tactics have incited violence and further discord across America."

The pile-on continued. The student bar association at the University of Missouri law school, where Hawley taught, issued a statement calling for his resignation.

Danforth, known in the Senate for his cordiality during his three terms, saw “intellectual heft” in Hawley as he urged him to run.

Now Danforth wonders how Hawley will be able to work with his Senate colleagues, even Republicans, moving forward.

“How is he going to get along with his colleagues? How is he going to do anything?" Danforth said. "What’s his political future?”

___

Beaumont reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Associated Press writer David Lieb in Jefferson City, Missouri contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden to speed release of coronavirus vaccines
President-elect Joe Biden will be taking a new direction to speed release of coronavirus vaccines when he assumes office Jan. 20
11:49AM ( 10 minutes ago )
The Latest: Family of slain officer calls him a hero
The family of the slain Capitol Police officer says they want the public to remember him for being a hero
11:40AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Plenty of overhead in this market: Betting on drone races
In the “gamblers will bet on absolutely anything” category, here’s a new one: A major sports book is taking bets on aerial drone races
11:40AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Boston mayor, RI governor among Biden adds to economic team
President-elect Joe Biden is set to introduce the governor of Rhode Island, the mayor of Boston and a small-business advocate from California as the newest members of his economic team
11:19AM ( 40 minutes ago )
President Trump won't attend Joe Biden's inauguration
President Donald Trump says he won’t attend President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration on Jan. 20
11:17AM ( 42 minutes ago )
President Trump won't attend Joe Biden's inauguration
President Donald Trump says he won’t attend President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration on Jan. 20
10:59AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump finally faces reality — amid talk of early ouster
With 12 days left in his term, President Donald Trump has finally bent to reality, acknowledging his electoral defeat amid growing talk in Washington of trying to force him from office early
7:34AM ( 4 hours ago )
Effort in Arkansas to enact hate crimes law in jeopardy
An effort to enact a hate crimes law in Arkansas is in jeopardy, despite a push by the state's popular Republican governor and major corporations
6:01AM ( 5 hours ago )
Global shares climb on Wall Street rally, stimulus hopes
Global shares are rising on hopes for additional economic stimulus after the U.S. Congress confirmed Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election
3:49AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Even with empty stadiums, NFL still a ratings monster
Regular-season ratings for NFL games declined this season following two straight years of increases
9:26PM ( 14 hours ago )
The Latest: Education head DeVos quits, cites Trump rhetoric
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has become the second Cabinet secretary to resign a day after a pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol
9:07PM ( 14 hours ago )
Black leaders cheer Georgia success, push for more progress
What started as a day of celebration for Black organizers, voters and other Georgians who helped deliver two historic Senate runoff victories was overshadowed Wednesday when a mostly white mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol
9:03PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Elections
Woman fatally shot at Capitol echoed Trump on social media
The San Diego woman who was fatally shot by police inside the U.S. Capitol had a history of social media rants against many of President Donald Trump's favorite targets — illegal immigration, masks and his critics
6:13PM ( 17 hours ago )
The Latest: McEnany: Administration found siege 'appalling'
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says President Donald Trump’s administration found the siege of the U_S_ Capitol to be “appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way.”
5:37PM ( 18 hours ago )
Painful questions after siege of Capitol by pro-Trump mob
The siege of the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters raised painful new questions across government
5:19PM ( 18 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
Biden to speed release of coronavirus vaccines
President-elect Joe Biden will be taking a new direction to speed release of coronavirus vaccines when he assumes office Jan. 20
11:49AM ( 10 minutes ago )
The Latest: Family of slain officer calls him a hero
The family of the slain Capitol Police officer says they want the public to remember him for being a hero
11:40AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Plenty of overhead in this market: Betting on drone races
In the “gamblers will bet on absolutely anything” category, here’s a new one: A major sports book is taking bets on aerial drone races
11:40AM ( 19 minutes ago )
The Latest: Pfizer study suggests vaccine fights variant
New research suggests the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech can still work against a mutated coronavirus
11:38AM ( 22 minutes ago )
House Democrats discussing swift action to impeach Trump
Democrats are discussing whether to act quickly to impeach President Donald Trump as soon as next week if his Cabinet doesn’t first try to remove him after he encouraged loyalists who ransacked the Capitol in a siege that has left five people dead
11:37AM ( 22 minutes ago )